A woman’s scream fills the air
“One more push!” echoes the doctor
And with a final bellowing cry, the exhausted new mother collapses backwards.
“Congratulations,” chimes the nurse, holding a brand new life in her hands, “It’s a girl!”
And the woman?
Well, the woman sighs.
The only thing she can truly say, considering the society she lives in, is, “Oh, I’m so sorry, baby girl.”
Her baby girl is going to grow up into a world
Where she will be labelled ‘lesser’.
Her baby is going to grow up, thrust into a world where she will be pushed aside to someone she doesn’t recognize.
Her baby girl-her precious baby girl- is going to grow up without knowing who she really is. Without knowing who she really wants to be. What she really wants to do. It’s not fair, it really isn’t.
But what can she do about it? What can she do to make her life easier?
Nothing. Nothing, but fight. To make things right.
Why? Why, you ask?
Because her daughter could be part of the 65 million girls in the world who aren’t in school.
Because her daughter could be part of the 17 million of whom will likely never go to school in their lifetimes.
Because her daughter could enter the workplace and only earn 83% of what her brother will earn for the same work.
She’s going to go to hell and back to fight for her daughter’s rights, to work and to be. She’s going to bang her fists on the doors that keep stopping her from being who she wants, she’s going to kick and scream for her daughter to be able to be who she wants to be.
When her daughter’s nametag reads ‘NOT GOOD ENOUGH’, bruised fists blooming red with blood from trying to shatter the glass ceiling-she will fight that barrier that is stopping her, she will fight to get what she rightfully earned, what she deserves and what many other women do. She will fight to make a difference.
Because of this wretched pay gap, this blatant marginalization of women in the workforce, the complete unfairness of it all to the women who work hard to earn, to support.
A century. Since the 1900s, this inequality has been prominent to the women around the world. A century; a century that could have been spent rearing the dragons in our girls’ bellies instead of teaching them to extinguish their scorching flames, to manicure their salient claws, to shut up and look pretty.
You can ask why again. Now sit down, and let us tell you.
It is because in the 1940s, it took 16 million men leaving their jobs to fight their wars, for female participation in the workforce to reach the highest it had ever been. It is because through the 1950s to the 1970s, during the roots of the Quiet Revolution, women’s education was still belittled. Even though it became more common that women were finally able to go to college and pursue a higher education, they only did it to get a husband.
They were expected to be tied down to marriage, to home life, along with the expectations of going to work. The so-called MRS degree as in, “missus”.
Even if, or when, she finds a husband, has a family, and has a job, her life will become a balancing act; Oakley’s Triple Shift comes into play and this means triple the work, triple the shame; trying to juggle the jobs, making an effort to be the perfect wife, to become the flawless mother, to become the ‘ideal worker’. She becomes a circus act with the patriarchy as her ring master.
So this poem, this speech, thus calling, us is for the women who handle their wolves, who handle their lions and their fire with unwavering will and defiance. The belladonnas who are not just a Quiet Revolution but a loud one; the ones who speak too much and love too loud. This is for the women who came, who saw, who conquered, with their soft, fierce flowers; bloomed in the face of adversity; resilient rivers as much as they are the ocean, as much as they are the storm.